The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 19, 2013

Santa calls in from the North Pole to Janet Weis Children's Hospital

DANVILLE — Sick children across Geisinger Health System had personal conversations with Santa Claus this week during the sixth annual SantaCam event.

On Monday and Wednesday, Santa’s “head elves” visited kids in their hospital rooms and let them have a personal conversation with “Santa,” using an iPad that gave them some face to face time with Saint Nick himself. About 60 children from Danville’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, aged from a few weeks to 18, got to speak to Santa. In a new expansion to the project introduced this year, seven children from Geisinger Wyoming Valley also got a personal message from Father Christmas.

“The kids love it,” said Kelly Hammaker, of the Parent and Family Care Center. Parents are also a big fan of the Santa visit, she said. “Their child might be in the hospital for two to three weeks (during the holidays) and the normal thing to do is go see Santa.”

Hammaker has been working with the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Services team, who is the organizer of the SantaCam event every year.

The idea started with Mary Tiffin, manager of integrated technology and social web service for Janet Weis, as a way to let sick kids and their parents celebrate the holidays while at the hospital. “We wanted to bring the Santa experience to them,” Tiffin said. “Visits to Santa have been the same today as they have in decades past. They continue to bring the joy and wonder of the season to children.”

Wyoming Valley was added to the program this year due to the facility’s expanded pediatric services. “Santa realized that there were several patients from that hospital whose list he was missing,” Tiffin said. “So he sent his elves to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley to find those little children to remind them to address their letters to Santa.”

The SantaCam program will expand as needed in the future, based on the number of pediatric patients at other Geisinger hospitals. “We want to provide every child the opportunity to experience the time worn tradition of a visit with Santa and the quintessential joy of the holiday, no matter their location,” Tiffin said.

One of the children visited by Santa and his elves at Janet Weis was Lia Hart, 6, of Montoursville. She got to have a heart-to-heart with Santa about what she wanted for Christmas and how she’s been a good girl this year. “It was a big surprise,” said her father, Brian Hart, who wasn’t expecting the Santa visit. “It’s pretty cool, she enjoyed it.”

He and his wife, Amy, hope to be able to bring their daughter home on Saturday after she finishes up chemotherapy treatment.

Children visited by the elves also each received a stuffed animal. Lia got a teddy bear, whom she quickly named Cuddles.

“We thought this year’s SantaCam went great,” Tiffin said. “The joy that it brings to the children in the Hospital is a gift to all those who participate. And the gift of spreading joy and wonder is truly what the season is all about.”

 

1
Text Only
News
  • BJ's owner still debating Danville location

    DANVILLE — The fate of BJ’s Steak and Rib House in Danville, devastated by a fire April 20, should be decided in about 30 days.

    July 27, 2014

  • Motorcycle ride raises $7,758 for Budd family

    MILTON — A charity motorcycle ride on Saturday raised $7,758 for the family of Sharon Budd.

    July 27, 2014

  • Federal commission to hold public meetings on pipeline proposal

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that oversees the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project will seek input in August from the public and interested agencies in order to prepare an environmental impact statement.

    July 27, 2014

  • Supervisor fined weekly for blighted properties

    A Point Township supervisor and city businessman has accumulated six code violations since June for allowing a commercial building property he owns to fall into a blighted state.

    July 27, 2014

  • Sharon Budd out of 'life-threatening stage'

    Sharon Budd’s life is no longer in danger, husband Randy Budd said Saturday, doctors confident the Ohio woman who once fought back breast cancer will survive the massive injuries sustained when an eight-pound rock thrown from an overpass smashed through the family’s vehicle windshield, shattering her face and head.

    July 27, 2014

  • rgbcycles26a.jpg More than $50,000 raised for Budd, family

    The total from Saturday’s motorcycle charity run for the Budd family was unavailable at deadline, but organizers anticipate it will be in the thousands.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • rgbcycles26c.jpg Hundreds ride to honor Sharon Budd, family

    The only thing brighter than Randy Budd’s smile was the gleaming chrome of 366 motorcycles as they roared off on a sunny Saturday for a 66-mile run through the Valley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Representative says Israel could make Gaza a "smoking wasteland"

    As the battles between Israelis and Hamas growing fiercer by the day, and with today’s “humanitarian” cease fire scheduled to end at midnight, both of the Valley’s U.S. Congressmen reiterated their strong support for Israel.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medical marijuana inches closer to reality in Pa.

    Pennsylvania came closer to legalizing medical marijuana this summer, but the conundrum that pushed passing the state’s budget until July 10 knocked the cannabis measure from senators’ priorities and to the fall legislative session.

    July 26, 2014

  • Paterno_Joe1 Son: Joe Paterno feared wrongly accusing Sandusky

    Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno told his son the day after his firing that he hadn’t informed the coaching staff about allegations Jerry Sandusky may be a child molester because he was unsure whether they were true, Jay Paterno writes in a new book.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.